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San Miguel would be truly Heaven if everyone spoke English. Then it would be like living in the US or Canada but on cobblestone streets and having help. Gangs understand the frustration faced by new members who can’t be understood but tell them soon Gangs members will outnumber the Mexicans in town in five years and be able force them to take speak English. In the meantime some members of the Doing Good Works Gang are doing their part to make San Miguel unilingual by teaching locals how to speak English.

As a gap to bridge the time until English is the official language of San Miguel Gang members receive a small manual of Spanish expressions to guide them in San Miguel. It is produced in its entirety below.

MINIMAL SPANISH FOR GANGS

Gracias – means thank you. When ever someone says something to you in Spanish simply smile and reply Gracias and quickly walk away.

Si and No – Si is Yes and No is No. Depending on your mood that day, you can go through most of your day responding Si or No to anything asked you in Spanish but remember to say Gracias before you walk away.

Cuanto Cuesta plus a handheld calculator – When you find stuff you want to buy, say Cuanto cuesta and hand them your calculator. They will type in a number indicating the price of the item. But remember prices aren’t fixed in San MIguel (except for Art and Warren Hardy Language Classes) so be prepared to spend at least two more hours passing the calculator back and forth until you get that “Special Price”.

Banos – means toilets. If nature calls simply say the word banos and have a pained look on your face. Failing that go into any expensive hotel where the restrooms say Men and Women. However if the doors don’t have pictures of men and women on them but only Spanish words then I you are in for an adventure. M sometimes is where women go. But as many a gang mama has found, in San Miguel, using the wrong washroom can work to your advantage. If you are a cowboy then use this sign to guide you to cowboy things.

Finger Pointing – Just point at what you want and use your fingers or hand held calculator to tell them how many.

What to do if a Restaurant doesn’t have an English menu. This is a sign that tells you that the food won’t be like home so leave quickly but don’t forget to say in a loud voice as you go out the door “They aren’t going to get much business with that attitude.” Just so they know who runs San Miguel.

Where do they speak English

  1. All Real Estate Agents speak English. If you want a guide for the day, pretend you just arrived in town and want to buy a house. Ask the agent to show you around town so you have a sense of what is there. Then ask him or her to take you to some good shops and when you are there have them help buy a few things but say they are for your house. You might have to look at houses but always say after seing it “Too small.”
  2. All staff in Art galleries speak English. So if you need something, pop into a gallery, look at few pictures and say “Interesting” and then ask the staff about how you could get what you need.
  3. Everyone in the Jardin speaks English so they can guide you to whatever you want to buy.
  4. Go the Biblioteca. They have a program that matches you to a Spanish speaker who wants to speak English. Once matched then voila you have your own San Miguel Guide. They work for nothing and all you have to give them is a few expression in English.